Wikipedia offline (1)

Many people, not only in the Global South, still have no internet access, or they don’t have it all the time. If you want to consult Wikipedia offline, there are some technical solutions. I have tried out three of them to help a senior citizen: WikiTaxi, Okawix, and Kiwix.

The principle is easy: install a browser and get the Wikipedia pages data. In practice, this is not too difficult for a digital native, but it is not easy enough for less internet savvy people. With regard to documentation and stability, it is obvious why (two of) the makers call their versions still Beta or zero dot something. Especially the documentation and translation is usually very poor.


WikiTaxi is a browser you have to install, and then you download the most recent (or an older, if you wish) version of your favorite Wikipedia language version or other Wikimedia project, e.g. Wikibooks or Wikiquote. Luckily the most recent one is from the previous month. It is not so easy to find the right version in a long list with similar file names. Then you have to use the tool “WikiTaxi importer” to make your file a WikiTaxi-file.

When in use, you have to choose which of the Wikipedia versions you have installed you want to read. As the interface is in English only, this is something you have to explain to a person who does not understand English well. The browser presents you a random page first, and is easy to use with a search function. You get the Wikipedia articles without pictures; where a picture was in the original, you see the wikisyntax for it. Mathematical formulas appear in a simplified form. WikiTaxi handles tables quite well.

Notable advantage: While the other two browsers display only pages of the article name space (plus categories), WikiTaxi presents also the Portals, a thematic approach to articles.

Browsing WikiTaxi is quick and stable. Categories work in principle, but often also not. If you want to change the language version, you have to quit the browser and start it again.

WIKITAXI RATING: installation 6(/10) points,  stability 9 points, interface 6 points, flexibility of content 9 points, illustrations 3 points, up-to-date 9 points

(to be continued)


5 thoughts on “Wikipedia offline (1)

  1. You might like to include Wikireader also in your reviews. It presents a version of Wikipedia articles from a downloadable archive with no pictures, tables or infoboxes. This makes it rather limited, and the small screen also makes browsing long articles a pain. I bought one to give to an elderly non-computer-literate relative, and he absolutely loved it.

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